Sunday, July 31, 2005

Knitting Boobs

I have managed to fix two boobs I made with two diffrent sweaters. The problem was the same with both-the sleeves were too long. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that I simply must write down what I am doing, from number of rows needed to tension etc because until now I have kept it all in my head. I have also noticed other silly mistakes I make which can be put down to forgetting or getting mixed up. I don't know if this is my age or my illness! John tells me that it is age and that he now needs to write notes before he gives a lecture whereas he used to just do it. Oh dear!
Anyway, as these sweaters were just not wearable unless I found a knuckle dragger, I decided to shrink them by tumble drying. From previous deliberate shrinkings, I guessed that these two items would shrink the amount I wanted them too. They did! The sleeves are perfect length now and of course the sweaters themselves feel better.
When I knit with Cashmere, I always tumble dry. Yes, don't freak, I did write that i tumble dry Cashmere! Why you may well ask. Quite simply it brings up the loft really well. The difference in feel between the tumble dried garment and the not is very very obvious. One cannot compare the two. The tumbled one feels ever so soft and the other doesn't. Now one must take into account this when knitting your tension piece. Either knit it and then wash and tumble it BEFORE you measure the gauge OR knit it, wash and leave to dry, then measure your gauge. However, when you come to knit the garment, knit it one whole tension higher. i.e. if you knit the tension piece at ten. 4, knit the garment at ten. 5. (I knit Cashmere on the SK830(250 needles 3.6mm pitch) using 2x 2/28 weight)
Cotton can be treated the same way. Dare I say it ought to be. Cotton shrinks but only shrinks once. So you either tumble dry the swatch and the garment or you hot wash(90deg C) the swatch and the garment. After this treatment, your cotton sweater will always be machine washable and can be tumble dried every time without further shrinking.
Back to the Cashmere-once you have tumbled it, from then on it must be handwashed or washed on a 30c gentle cycle. It must NOT be tumbled or hotter washed as it will continue to shrink.
Lambswool(woollen spun) cannot be treated like the above. It will felt. So unless you want a felted piece, only wash lambswool gently in cool water.
I will write more tips when i feel like it. Perhaps on finishing knitted items as the finishing of a piece makes or breaks it. So many fine pieces of knitting are ruined by poor finishing techniques.
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